Rust Belt gives new life to ‘Living Dead’



Rust Belt Theater Company has revamped “Living Dead: The Musical” and will bring it back to the stage beginning this weekend.

The zombie parody written by Robert Dennick Joki and Josh Taylor premiered last Halloween season to excellent reviews, but this year’s production should be even better. Joki and Taylor have fine-tuned the comedic musical, jettisoning the weak segments and punching up the strong ones.

“The cast is bigger this year, so we were able to build on some musical numbers that I originally envisioned being more elaborate,” said Joki.

Taylor reworked the orchestrations to achieve a bigger sound, and there is a lot more dancing, including new choreography by Marisa Zamary.

Another big change is the lighting. “Now that we have updated our lighting system, it makes a huge difference in the look of the show,” said Joki.

“Living Dead” riffs off of zombie-film tropes from several sources, but none more than the original “Night of the Living Dead,” which has become the bible of undead lore and legend.

Just about all of the cast members from the original production have returned, with the exception of newcomer Lynn Sabeh in the role of Barbara, which is one of the leads.

The cast also includes Kage Coven, Zamary, Andy Peretic, Hunter Thomas, Tom Smith, Nicole Zayas, Geri DeWitt, JoEllen Jacob, Grace Offerdahl, David Cirelli, Murphy Sharp, Rachel Clifford, Giavanna LaGamba and Josh Fleming.

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